GLOBAL PC SHIPMENTS have declined by seven percent over the last year, analysis outfit Canalys has reported, backing similar reports by fellow market watchers IDC and Gartner.
Unlike its counterparts, Canalys counted tablet shipments in its PC sales figures, which it said showed a global rise of 18 percent over the last year. However, because tablets accounted for 48 percent, almost half of the total PC market, the firm said that the rest - PCs, laptops and notebooks - saw a worldwide decline of 6.9 percent year on year, with shipments falling in all regions.
The market tracker said tablet shipments alone grew 65 percent year on year to reach 76.3 million units.
Although PC shipments are in downward spiral overall, Canalys reported that commercial demand is improving as businesses face up to the need to migrate from Windows XP. However, along with this it seems that there's an uncertain future for Windows 8 in the commercial sector.
"Windows 8 will not be a major beneficiary as many businesses will take the safer option of moving to Windows 7," the firm said. "Vendors heavily exposed to the consumer notebook market still face an uncertain future. Windows 8 uptake remains weak and the PC refresh cycle shows no sign of returning."
"With Windows 9 reported to be scheduled for an April 2015 release, Microsoft risks losing momentum unless it does something drastic to turn its Windows business around," Canalys added, saying that consumers are becoming more open to Windows alternatives such as Google's operating systems.
The market leader in both tablet and PC shipments was Apple, which shipped 30.9 million units in the fourth quarter to take a 19.5 percent share of the market.
It shipped 26 million iPads, which accounted for 84.3 percent of its total shipments in the fourth quarter. Apple's share of the overall tablet market increased in the fourth quarter to 34 percent from 27 percent from the third quarter, with the launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display being responsible for the increase.
"But competition is mounting and Android tablets are falling in price, which will put pressure on Apple's market share in 2014," Canalys added.
Lenovo held second place in Canalys rankings, securing 12 percent share of the total PC market in the fourth quarter.
Lenovo's PC shipments increased 26 percent year on year, driven by what Canalys said was growth outside its core Chinese market, where its shipments declined, and rising in Europe.
"Lenovo's 11.7 percent decline in notebook shipments in China was offset by impressive growth in other regions, notably EMEA, where shipments grew 30.4 percent," the firm said.
"Lenovo was early to embrace Android as a tablet OS, while the likes of HP and Dell waited for Windows 8 and prioritised margin over volume. Lenovo's strategy has paid off, not only in its home market but worldwide."
In December, IDC said that the PC market will decline worse than had been expected in 2013, as smartphones and tablets continue to dominate the consumer technology market.
"Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -10.1 percent in 2013, slightly below the previous projection of -9.7 percent, and by far the most severe yearly contraction on record," IDC said in its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report.
Gartner also predicted similar trends. During the third quarter of 2013, the firm said sales of PC devices in Western Europe fell year on year by 12.8 percent, but in the UK the decline was 21.1 percent, more than in France and Germany. µ